Burleson Couple Survived Terrorist Attack in Kenya

Week of safaris ended with terrorist attack

A North Texas couple who went to Kenya to see exotic wildlife ended up seeing more than expected as they were trapped in a Nairobi shopping mall when terrorists attacked.

“We went to three different safari parks and saw literally tens of thousands of animals,” Ryan Colby of Burleson said about the first part of their week vacation.

“Everything you’d hope to see, we saw,” said his wife, Amanda Colby.

On the couple's last day in Kenya, hours before their planned flight home, they stopped at the Westgate shopping mall with some friends to buy a loaf of bread.

They were inside the building, about 50 yards from the mall’s main entrance, when terrorists showed up out of nowhere.

"We heard a series of booms," Ryan Colby said. "It was the grenades going off. Then we heard a lot of shots being fired. It was at that point I realized what was going on."

For a short time, they ducked behind a candy display.

"The noise quieted for a little bit so we started running again when we started hearing noises again so we ducked behind another counter,” he said. “Amanda ducked down and I got on top of her there.”

During another pause in gunfire, they ran for the nearest exit and ended up hiding behind some pallets at a loading dock.

“It certainly was a scary situation,” Ryan Colby said.

“We were scared but we didn’t ever feel like we were losing it,” Amanda Colby said.

After hiding for a short time at the loading dock, they ran to a nearby park and hailed what they believed was a taxi.

Instead, it was a young Kenyan man who gave them a ride away from the danger zone.

In the chaos, they lost track of their friends they had been visiting, Morgan and Ann Harris of Las Vegas. They are now missionaries for the Mormon Church in Kenya.

Neither couple knew if the others had survived until they were reunited several hours later.

Despite their ordeal, the Colby's say they still have good memories of Kenya and would go back again.

"We saw a lot of good things from the Kenyan people,” Ryan Colby said. “It was unfortunate this had to happen to them."

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